© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
War and Peace

War and Peace


by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace Ambition Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Volume.Part.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation.

Quote #10

Natasha did not follow the golden rule advocated by clever folk, especially by the French, which says that a girl should not let herself go when she marries, should not neglect her accomplishments, should be even more careful of her appearance than when she was unmarried, and should fascinate her husband as much as she did before he became her husband. Natasha on the contrary had at once abandoned all her witchery, of which her singing had been an unusually powerful part. She gave it up just because it was so powerfully seductive. She took no pains with her manners or with delicacy of speech, or with her toilet, or to show herself to her husband in her most becoming attitudes, or to avoid inconveniencing him by being too exacting. She acted in contradiction to all those rules. She felt that the allurements instinct had formerly taught her to use would now be merely ridiculous in the eyes of her husband, to whom she had from the first moment given herself up entirely – that is, with her whole soul, leaving no corner of it hidden from him. She felt that her unity with her husband was not maintained by the poetic feelings that had attracted him to her, but by something else – indefinite but firm as the bond between her own body and soul. (Epilogue.1.10.4)

This is a pretty amazing testament to marriage, no? But what's also funny is that for some reason there are a lot of male critics who are totally horrified that a woman with four kids to raise wouldn't invest in the same level of beauty routines and whatever as a young girl looking for love. Um, guess what, people? That's life, and this description is what a mature family relationship looks like. (By the way, "toilet" here means grooming, so it's not as gross as you may have thought.)

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...